What Awaits on the Other Side

More than just a compositional construct, doors, windows, and passageways provide the opportunity to imbue a painting with a sense of mystery. Whether our view is looking out, looking in, or down a corridor, we can’t help but wonder what awaits on the other side. Here, 5 artists present us with 5 unique takes on these familiar yet evocative subjects.

“Alan’s Playroom Redux” (watercolor, 15 x 22 in.) by Mick McAndrews

“I completed Alan’s Playroom Redux during the 2018 Mountain Maryland Plein Air competition in September,” says Mick McAndrews. “It rained hard the entire week, so I tucked into this barn on the beautiful property of my host family to stay dry for a few hours. I painted a smaller version of the interior in 2017, hence ‘Redux’ in the title. “I told myself then that it would be fun to do a larger version one day. The dreary weather this year provided the perfect opportunity to do so. My goal was to capture the mood and atmosphere of this busy workshop with a focus on the strong light coming in from the window. There was no artificial light in the barn, so I worked with very little light on my palette and paper. I finished the painting in about two hours and told myself that I’d come back the next day to add finishing touches. “Well, don’t you just love it when you return to a scene and ask yourself what else needs to be done to the painting and the obvious answer is nothing? The icing on the cake is that the painting received the Best Use of Light award during the competition’s opening reception.”


“Sunbaked” (watercolor, 21 x 14 in.) by Ken Karlic

“Created during Plein Air Easton 2018, Sunbaked is based on a series of structures where the pattern of light and shadow created strong geometric shapes,” says Ken Karlic. “It is in the mysteries of the windows, doors, and passageways that I found the most interest. By simply suggesting them, I created a feeling rather than a specific place.”

More watercolor paintings
“Back Door” (watercolor, 16 x 20 in.) by Vladislav Yeliseyev
“Abandoned Mill” (watercolor, 15 x 20 in.) by Ron Bigony
“Side Door” (watercolor, 10 x 7 in.) by Richard Sneary

Previous articleHow to Make It as an Outsider
Next articleKeep Your Watercolors Fresh and Loose
Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here